Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management News

Compilation of latest research news on climate change adaptation/management and disaster risk management

Legarda Pushes for Water Resource Mgmt, Coastal Mapping for Sustainable Devt of Coastal Areas (Press Release)

This is a Press Release from the office of Senator Loren Legarda dated October 11, 2017.

Senator Loren Legarda stressed the importance of protecting the country’s coastal resources and having a comprehensive water resource management program.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Finance and Climate Change, made the statement during the plenary debates on the proposed 2018 budget of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

In response to a query on the existence of a master plan for the sustainable development of Laguna de Bay, Legarda said that the DENR already has one but it must be reviewed to ensure a holistic approach in managing the lake as well addressing the needs of the affected populace.

“We need to decongest the surroundings of the lake from informal settler families (ISF), especially those in Lupang Arenda, which is an island of garbage turned into settlement. It is not even habitable and the government, especially the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and National Housing Authority (NHA), should move these families out of the area and find them a humane community,” she stressed.

While the DENR has already demolished 44 illegal fish pens in the lake, which is equivalent to 45% of the total illegal fish pens, Legarda hopes that the resettlement of ISFs can also be done quickly.

“Perhaps the DENR can create a Laguna Lake Task Force not just for resettlement but also to address the issue of siltation and to provide programs such as massive planting of bamboo and sustainable livelihood for the people,” she said, noting that this should also be done in other bodies of water surrounded by communities such as the Manila Bay and the Pasig River.

“It is actually ironic that we are poor when we are abundant in water resources. We have used our bays, lakes and rivers as sewerage and garbage bins. This is not the way to treat our water resources—our source of life. Let us implement our environmental laws, plant mangroves or restore coral reefs, whichever is applicable. We should bring back the bounty and restore the ecological integrity of the Laguna de Bay, Manila Bay, Pasig River, and our other threatened bodies of water,” Legarda urged.

Moreover, the Senator also stressed the need to complete the mapping of coastal resources all over the country “because we would not know what we will protect if we do not know what we actually have.”

Loren Legarda Twitter Photo 10 Oct 2017

She added that the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) should coordinate closely with the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) so that where there are rich fishing grounds there should also be community fish landing centers, and that coastal protection and conservation programs are in place.

“We have 822 coastal municipalities all over the country and we must know the state of the corals in these areas, the resources that they have including those that can serve as natural buffers like mangroves and seagrass beds, and their resilience programs. Undertaking coastal resource mapping would give us a clearer view of what we have and what interventions are necessary to preserve, protect and sustainably manage these resources. Moreover, the DENR, Climate Change Commission, the University of the Philippines Resilience Institute, and local government units must converge to build the resilience of our coastal communities,” Legarda concluded.***

UP Resilience Institute to Lead SUCs in Assisting LGUs with LCCAP

"If all the SUCs (State Universities and Colleges) will help the LGUs (Local Government Units) in the respective areas, mapapabilis (it will be expedited), we'll finish it by 2018. 'Yan ang target natin (That's our target), but I need a shepherd; I need a lead, and that lead will be UP Resilience Institute. That's part of your mandate. So, may I request UP to lead all other SUCs to help CCCom teach local governments to complete their LCCAPs (Local Climate Change Action Plan)."

This was the statement that Senator Loren Legarda gave during the Senate Finance committee hearing on the proposed 2018 budgets of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on September 21, 2017.

In terms of the LCCAP rollouts, the UP NOAH Center has worked with the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) and the Local Climate Change Adaptation for Development (LCCAD) group as early as February in assisting LGUs.

She also asked the UP RI to coordinate closely with the National Resilience Council and the Manila Observatory.

The National Resilience Council is composed of representatives from the private and public sector who signed the partnership agreement for a resilient Philippines was signed last August 7, 2017 in reference to President Rodrigo Duterte's call for the "Cabinet cluster on climate change adaptation and disaster risk management to immediately work hand in hand with the concerned LGUS, the private sector and the affected communities themselves in undertaking disaster (resiliency) measures." during his second State of the Nation Address. The signatories were Hans Sy (ARISE), Austere Panadero, Undersecretary of DILG, undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, (OCD administrator and  NDRRMC executive director) as well as representatives of the Makati Business Club, Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, the National Competitiveness Council, Manila Observatory, Zuellig Family Foundation and the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation.

The Manila Observatory is a Jesuit scientific research institution with research work in the fields of atmospheric and earth science in the Philippines and the Southeast Asian region. It advocates a science-based approach to sustainable development and poverty reduction. It is committed to a scientific culture in its regional and global context through research excellence in environmental and pre-disaster science particularly in the areas of atmospheric studies, solid earth dynamics, instrumentation, and applied geomatics.

The UP Resilience Institute was established as a proactive hub of benchmark innovative information vital to the nation's efforts in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Its mission is to empower local communitites through multidisciplinary actions toward resilience.

Loren Legarda on UP RI Senate Hearing 21Sep2017

Watch Sen. Legarda’s statement here

Scientist presses probabilistic map use for LGU plans (LCCAD)

This is a news release from the Local Climate Change Adaptation for Development (LCCAD) embargoed until September 11, 2017

QUEZON CITY – "A multi-hazard map is more important than single hazard maps in saving lives and averting disasters,” said multi-awarded Filipino scientist during his lecture for the towns of Catarman and Capul, Northern Samar.

Mahar Lagmay, geologist and Executive Director of the University of the Philippines Resilience Institute (UP RI) and the UP Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) Center, was the resource speaker for the 3-day training workshop (September 6-8, 2017) for the formulation of Community Climate Vulnerability and Disaster Risk Assessment in preparation for Barangay Contingency and Adaptation Plans (CCVDRA-BCAP) of 55 barangay captains of Catarman, and 12 barangay captains of Capul towns. Together with them are their respective Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) Presidents and municipal technical managers.

The event, being conducted in a series of batches, is hosted by the Local Climate Change and Adaptation for Development (LCCAD) in partnership with the UP Resilience Institute, 2nd Congressional Office of Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, the Special Committee on Climate Change of the House of Representatives headed by Ako Bikol Partylist Rep. Christopher S. Co, City Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi, Albay, 3rd District Rep. Fernando V. Gonzales, and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA-5) led by Regional Director Aida A. Naz.

LCCAD Executive Director Manuel Rangasa said that the event is in response to the call of Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte to mainstream Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Risk Reduction and Vulnerability Reduction (DRRVR) into local development planning processes. It is also the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement aside from being an input to House Bill 6075 which will enact a new law creating the Department of Disaster Resilience under the sponsorship of Rep. Salceda.

Lagmay cited the important aspects of effective disaster prevention and mitigation noting the responsibility of the government in giving warnings, the response of the people, and the use of appropriate hazard maps.

“It is the responsibility of the government to deliver accurate, readily accessible, understandable, and timely warnings. However, no amount of warning will work or will be effective if hazard maps are inappropriate,” he said.

Hazard mapping and risk assessment

Lagmay presented the deterministic and probabilistic types of hazard maps used by the government in depicting hazard scenarios and executing DRR plans. Deterministic hazard maps are based mainly on historical recollection and the people’s experience which might make it inaccurate in predicting disasters. Probabilistic maps, on the other hand, rely on scientific data in assessing risk by simulating future multiple scenarios of disasters such as floods, storm surges, and landslides.

“While historical losses can explain the past, they do not necessarily provide a good guide to the future; most disasters that could happen have not happened yet. Probabilistic risk assessment simulates those future disasters which, based on scientific evidence, are likely to occur. As a result, these risk assessments resolve the problem posed by the limits of historical data,” he explained.

Lagmay cited examples of thousands of people killed and properties ruined due to the use of inaccurate maps such as during the onslaught of typhoon Pablo in Compostela Valley in 2012 and the Supertyphoon Yolanda in Tacloban, Leyte in 2013 where evacuation centers were constructed in disaster prone areas, killing people right at the evacuation centers where they supposedly sought refuge.

“In Compostela Valley, 566 people heeded warnings by seeking refuge in an evacuation center but it became their grave when a massive debris flow overwhelmed the site,” he said.

“Another example is the Yolanda disaster where 70 percent of evacuation centers in Tacloban were inundated by storm surges, which only tells us that the storm surge hazard maps were erroneous if they were used in the city’s disaster mitigation plan,” Lagmay furthered.

Lagmay said deterministic maps were used in those times.

Moreover, it was in 2012 when the government invested in hazard maps using frontier science and advanced technology to map out the Philippine landscape at very high resolutions.

With this map, Lagmay noted, safe and hazard prone areas can accurately be identified to build a well-planned and resilient community against disasters. “During disasters, it is very important to see safe areas rather than the danger zones because it is where you relocate people,” he added. 

Hazard maps available for public use

Lagmay said that the availability and accessibility of near-real time data via Android platforms provided people with more accurate information allowing them to respond appropriately and save lives like what happened during the Habagat Flood in Marikina and the Ruby Storm Surge in 2014, both resulted in no casualties despite a massive number of houses destroyed.

Lagmay said that maps are available in the NOAH website and in an award-winning mobile app called Arko. The NOAH maps are distributed to empower local government units (LGUs) and even individuals.

He also noted that by knowing the hazards in their neighborhood, people are made aware of the dangers in their community – this is the first step in effective disaster preparedness and mitigation. This entails long term education and cultivating a culture of safety and preparedness in communities along with the standardization of a national CCA-DRR program.

Rep. Joey Salceda: Resilience and development needs Science

In his speech at the UP RI Launch last 20 June 2017, United Nations Senior Global Champion on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCA- DRR); Philippine Green Economist; and 2nd District of Albay Representative Joey Sarte Salceda emphasized the role of the UP Resilience Institute and the NOAH Center in Philippine development.

He highlighted his experiences in Albay as a source of knowledge in facing the threats of climate change and the institution that was established as the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office as a vigilant pillar in DRR in the province.

Enhanced by the science-based approach and products of the UP NOAH Center, citizens are encouraged to be self-reliant in times of potential disaster — a critical part of resilience and resilient communities.

At kahit ultimo pong Barangay Tanod sa Albay, alam po nila kung ano ang link ng NOAH at kung paano ito gamitin,” Rep. Salceda said.

(Even a Barangay Tanod in Albay, they know the link of NOAH and how to use it.)

Kung dati ay naa-achieve namin ang zero casualty na hindi po ganoon ka-science-based, ngayon sa paggamit po ng siyensiya ay mas nakatipid po ang probinsya ng Albay at iyong resources na na-free-up po ay nagamit po namin para sa development-inducing na mga programa po ng aming probinsiya.

(If we achieved zero casualty that was not too science-based before, now, with the use of science, the province of Albay was able to free up resources to be used for programs that induced development.)


As the Vice Chairman for the House of Representatives’ Climate Change Committee, he pledged to support the UP Resilience Institute, the UP NOAH Center, and Senator Legarda’s policies that will uphold CCA and DRR in the country.

Read Rep. Salceda’s full speech hereWatch Rep. Salceda’s speech hereThis article is originally published in UP NOAH webpage. 

Sen. Loren Legarda: Science is Crucial

Senator Loren Legarda, the current Chairwoman of the Climate Change Oversight Committee of the Senate, was the keynote speaker during the UP Resilience Institute  launch last 20 June 2017.

In her speech, Sen. Legarda specifically stated that UP NOAH has been instrumental in improving disaster preparedness in the country.  She added that NOAH has been “very helpful particularly in providing accurate information and timely warnings to [Philippine] agencies and communities.”

Sen legarda 1024x683

She stated that she is glad that NOAH is now integrated within the UP Resilience Institute.

“The role of the UP Resilience Institute is crucial here. I envision this to be a center for topnotch research on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Not only will it be a primary source of climate information, it will also disseminate information and essential tools for the public, especially the local government units (LGUs),” she added.



Senator Legarda ensures that climate change, including adaptation and disaster risk reduction, is addressed as a national priority and considered in policy-making.

Read Sen. Legarda’s full keynote speech here. Watch Sen. Legarda’s speech here. This article is originally published on UP NOAH webpage. 

UP formally unveils Resilience Institute with NOAH as core component

By: LCCAD Media Presence

MANILA, Philippines, June 20 — The University of the Philippines Resilience Institute (UP-RI) was formally re-launched Tuesday (June 20, 2017) at the Bahay ng Alumni, the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City, highlighting the integration of National Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) as its core component. The event was participated in and is actively supported by the Local climate Change Adaptation for Development (LCCAD) led by Executive Director Nong C. Rangasa and the 2nd Congressional Office headed by UN First Senior Global Champion for Climate Change Adaptation/Disaster Risk & Vulnerability Reduction, Philippine Green Economist, Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda.

The launch was spearheaded by UP President Danny Concepcion together with UP-RI Executive Director Alfredo Mahar Francisco A. Lagmay and was also graced by Senate Climate Change Committee chair and United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience, Senator Loren Legarda.


Salceda said in his speech “Kung dati po, kahit nakikita naming sa satellite na merong paparating na isang hazard, subalit sa ngayon sa pamamagitan po ng NOAH, kami po ay nakapag tipid. Yon po siguro ang pinakamalaking kina ibahan. Kung dati na achieve naming ang zero casualty na hindi ganon ka-science based, ngayon sa gamit po ng syensiya, mas lalong nakatipid po ang probinsiya ng Albay….maliban po sa pagiging accessible sa lahat, at madali pong ituro sa ating ordinaryong tao pati na sa mga bgy tanod ay kaya po nilang gamitin ito upang mai ‘save’ nila ang sariling buhay. Sa dami po ng buhay na na save namin dun sa Albay…ang mga tao po ay nagkaroon ng tiwala sa gobyerno kaya po sabay sabay naming nagawa na maibaba ang aming poverty incidence at hindi po magagawa yan kung hindi po hahabulin ang zero casualty. Sana po ang ating UP-RI at ang NOAH Center na ibinubunsod nila ang zero casualty, maging isang haligi po sa ating lipunan. Para sa akin po, napaka importante po na ang ating UP-RI at NOAH Center ay klaro sa kanilang gusting gawin at yon po ay ang zero casualty during time of disasters dahil ang meaning naman po talaga ng resilience is the strategy so that development can proceed amidst all the risks.”

Likewise, in her inspiring and assuring speech, Senator Legarda said “I have committed to help the UP Resilience Institute to equip you not just for the building, not just with the equipment, not just with the personnel needed but most important- to be able to connect you with all our agencies of the government so that all of the studies, maps and everything that they’ve done in all these years should be given to you, lent to you, made accessible to you so that with your information, you will be able to do not just early warning but actually project the impact of natural hazards on our local, rural, vulnerable populace.”

For his part, Lagmay revealed and pointed out “ang disaster data at impormasyon ay dapat libre, accessible sa lahat. Ito po ang tinatawag na ‘open data.’ Pag sinabi mong open data ay dapat open data. Ito po ay kinakailangan sa panahon ng emergencies, data should be accessible at libre. Aanhin po ang datos at impormasyon kung hindi ito aabot sa tao kung kalian ito kinakailangan?”


LCCAD Executive Director Nong C. Rangasa, a staunch exponent of the Resilience Institute, said that the UP-RI is an inclusive multi-disciplinary approach by the university system to produce effective and efficient capacity building programs which are essential in forming sustainable development plans that will benefit all Filipinos, especially the poor and other marginalized and vulnerable sectors. Rangasa said he agrees with Lagmay and the UP RI’s belief that the long-term solution to our country’s disaster problems will be best achieved through the collaborative competent contributions of not only Science and Technology, but Arts and Humanities as well.

The LCCAD, which is a prime-mover in the 2017 Leagues of Municipalities/Cities of the Philippines (LMP/LCP) national roll-out training-workshops on the formulation of Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP)/Barangay Contingency & Recovery Plan (BCRP) that has so far trained more than 500 out of 1,700 LGUS in the Philippines, partners with Lagmay who vowed that progressive scientific research, with the full utilization of state-of-the-art equipment and technology, by the UP RI will ensure accurate, reliable, understandable and timely data that is open and free to the public at all times, also through the website and android application.

“Empowered communities, which constantly remained as the fundamental and uncompromised goal of NOAH, proved to be instrumental in averting more than 15 potentially fatal calamities since 2012,” Lagmay said.

In response to LCCAD’s advocacy for a science & risk-based approach, a well-developed LCCAP and risk assessment to enhance Comprehensive Land Use & Development Plan (CLUDP), Lagmay underscored the role of UP RI lead in mapping out blueprints for Local Government Units (LGUs) on implementing genuine progress as they address and overcome the challenges of future catastrophes.

For the past 5 years, NOAH has cultivated competence thus excellence by training science experts yielding dependable comprehensive output and appropriately disseminating probabilistic multi-scenario-based multi-hazard maps. Along with this, the LCCAD has also vigorously been strengthening LGUs foundations through LCCAP/BCRP trainings.

“Such maps for disaster risk assessment are required in the Philippine Development Plan 2017 – 2022 and are important for unhampered and lasting growth,” Lagmay explained.

The UP NOAH Center under the UP RI will intensify its function to robustly make available and offer comprehensive reports necessary for the country’s 144 cities and 1,490 municipalities and 81 provinces in accordingly responding to various calamities and facilitate proper vulnerability management in their respective area of jurisdiction. According to the World Bank Report of 2016, the Philippines ranked third among the 171 countries with the highest levels of disaster risks. As a response, the UP Board of Regents (BOR), during its 1319th Meeting on 28th July, 2016, established the UP RI through Memorandum No. PAEP 16-67. Consequently, NOAH was adopted by the UP during the BOR’s 1325 Meeting on 23 February 2017 and established as a center through Executive Order No. PDLC 17-03 on 21 March 2017.